Two groups of works from the Pinault Collection are on display at the MUDAM during summer 2019: several emblematic sculptures by Danish-Vietnamese artist Danh Vo (born in 1975), and a portfolio of photographs by American artist LaToya Ruby Frazier (born in 1982).

Mudam Luxembourg
Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean

Danh Vo
Latoya ruby frazier
<a class="switch">Text</a><br> <b>Suzanne Cotter</b><br> <span style="display: none;"> Director </span>

<span class="alinea"></span>From its first acquisitions in the mid-1990s, the focus for the future Mudam was resolutely contemporary. The conversation between Mudam and the Pinault Collection is a response to a process of rethinking what and how we might imagine our approach to collecting in the future. Since the opening of the Pinault Collection in Venice, in the sumptuous, light-filled Palazzo Grassi in 2006, and the tactile volumes of Tadao Ando’s architecture in the former customs building of the Punta della Dogana in 2009, the public has had the opportunity to view works of some of the most significant artists of our contemporary moment. At the closing of the second decade of the twenty-first century, over a decade after Mudam’s opening to the public in 2006, and at a cultural and ecological moment in which the future of large collections is the subject of profound discussion—as a recent <i>New York Times</i> article observed, “Museum storage spaces are overflowing and museums are rethinking the way they collect art”<sup>1</sup>—a project of dynamic collaboration such as this is more relevant than ever. <br/> <br/> <span class="alinea"></span>The discussions between Jean-Jacques Aillagon, general director of the Pinault Collection, Odile de Labouchere, administrator, and curator Caroline Bourgeois produced a shared intelligence that responded to our desire to offer our visitors in Luxembourg a larger view of the work of artists with whom our two collections have a shared affinity. To be able to think about a conversation that could evolve over time is especially meaningful, joining with the idea of the museum as an ongoing story in which convergences, parallels, and also intersections of artists and their histories can be told. <br/> <br/> <span class="alinea"></span>The idea to focus, in a first instance, on the work of Danh Vo was self-evident, and inspired by the rich representation of Vo’s work in the Pinault Collection. To be able to show works selected by Caroline Bourgeois offers an expanded context in which to better appreciate Vo’s <i>2.2.1861</i> (2009) in the Mudam collection. This haunting work on paper consists of a re‑transcription by Vo’s non-French speaking father of a letter written by the French missionary Jean-Théophane Vénard to his own father on the eve of his execution in Indochina in the nineteenth century. A kind of unlimited edition of a recurring original, the piece serves as a cornerstone to all of Vo’s exhibitions. <br/> <br/> <span class="alinea"></span>The re-phrasing of relationships between father and son, of blind faith and death, of fragmented bodies and cultural redirecting, and the intertwined narratives of colonialism and transmission that subtend <i>2.2.1861</i> find expression in the three sculptures from the Pinault Collection presented in Mudam’s Sculpture Garden. The disposition of works, conceived by Bourgeois with Vo, is true to the artist’s seemingly effortless approach to placement, held in check by a taut conceptual precision, clearly displayed in “Slip of the Tongue,” an exhibition curated by Vo for the Pinault Collection in 2015, his occupation of the Danish pavilion of the Giardini for the Venice Biennial of the same year, and his audacious retrospective exhibition at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York in 2017. At Mudam, the ground is populated with the piled cast body parts and painted gold fingernails of <i>Gustav’s Wing</i> (2013), and the piled pieces of found wood and metal tools, interspersed with fragments of Vo’s sculptures and recycled carvings, that make up <i>Log Dog</i> (2013), all seemingly auto-assembled, as if the detritus of an apocryphal flood. Both works seem to act as markers of territory for the Gothic oak head of the Virgin Mary placed on a recuperated piece of plywood atop the dimpled marble legs of a Roman child. Its vertically assembled majesty is accompanied by the scripted profanity taken from the 1973 film <i>The Exorcist</i>, <i>Your mother sucks cocks in Hell</i> (2015), that serves as the title. The works binds the body parts of western sculptural traditions within the blasphemous language of the “possessed” and the proxy. <br/> <br/> <span class="alinea"></span>The installation of Vo’s sculptures, with their appropriation of cultural forms and languages from across time and geographies, also opens up a dialogue with other works currently on view in Mudam, notably the fountain of ink of <i>Many Spoken Words</i> (2009) by Luxembourg artist Su-Mei Tse, and, in the museum’s vast central hall, the recently acquired monumental sculpture <i>Privileged Points</i> (2016) by Nairy Baghramian. A close contemporary of Vo, Baghramian’s works were included in his exhibition “Slip of the Tongue,” and their proximity in Luxembourg points to the conversations between artists as part of a dynamic and networked community. Mudam’s recently opened solo exhibition dedicated to the work of LaToya Ruby Frazier, also includes an important number of loans from the Pinault Collection. <br/> <br/> <span class="alinea"></span>The happy coincidence of timing of Ruby Frazier’s and Vo’s exhibitions emphasizes not only the breadth of the Pinault Collection’s holdings but the numerous points of shared reference to be found between our two institutions, bound by a shared belief in artists who speak to us and their time. <br/> <br/> <div class="notes"> 1—Lyndon French, “Clean House to Survive? Museums Confront Their Crowded Basements” <br/> <a href=""></a> </div>
Danh VO <br/> Exhibition view
LaToya Ruby FRAZIER<br/> Exhibition view

Pinault Collection

Pinault Collection Magazine - Issue #13


Pinault Collection